THE Mass

I posted on Tad's FB wall yesterday that he's had this mass growing on his left side for about a month now. It's a strange looking fellow, but we decided to watch it for a week or two and see what happens. Here we are, a month later and it's still there...very slowly getting bigger, but really...doesn't seem to bother him.

Two different types of masses/growths came to mind immediately, Mast Cell Tumor and Histiocytoma.

Mast Cell Tumors are a type of cancer. They can look like anything and are scary little devils.

Histiocytomas are very common in young dogs, and they will generally 'fall off' on their own. No need to worry with them.

We decided to go ahead and aspirate the growth to get some cells and look under the microscope. We can usually diagnose these two types of tumors without issue here in the clinic.

However, Tad is NOT a very good patient...especially when you come at his man-area with a needle.

You're going to put that needle where!?
 We didn't get a very good sample from the mass, so our cytology was inconclusive. Figures.

So, now I'm trying to decide if I should go ahead and remove it or leave it alone. Let me explain why I don't just 'rip the thing off'...then perhaps together we can make an educated decision.

IF it's a Histiocytoma, there's no reason to knock him out and remove it. In a few months, it'll fall off on it's own and not only will we save money, we won't have to put him under.

IF it's Mast Cell and we wait (because we think it's a Histiocytoma) it can and likely will spread. You never want to wait to remove Mast Cells, especially when you make them angry by poking them with a needle.

It could also simply be a cyst...which would be GREAT. However, if we go mashing and squeezing the heck out of it to get it to pop...and it's a Mast Cell...then we run the risk of making things a lot worse.

So, you see my predicament?! I will probably just knock the silly boy out and remove it...but, then...I'd probably try again to get the turd to sit still long enough and not bite so we can get a better sample. :/

Here's the picture of his little friend, we shall call him, Martin the Mass. ;)

Martin the Mass


  1. Poor Tad! Is there something you can give him so that he doesn't care what you do? Kinda like the gas you get at the dentist? I have NO idea if there is anything like that for animals or not. Just a thought........

  2. I can see why this is a tough decision. Money doesn't grow in trees, Tad isn't your only dog, and this isn't his only problem. In fact, its probably the least of his concerns.

    Of course the keyword is *probably*.

    If he didn't have mange, I'd probably be in favor of watchful waiting. But he does, and my understanding is that this means his immune system isn't up to snuff.

    Maybe this is the cause. Or maybe its an effect. Or maybe its totally unrelated. I don't know. I really don't. I'm just following a chain of logic that makes sense to me.

  3. I vote to remove it and err on the side of caution and get it while it's small.

  4. How about waiting until he's asleep, getting everything ready and then BAM, sneak attack to get a better sample. Crap, I have more ideas but Chance has the cat's head in his mouth so I gotta go!

  5. I would try to get another sample. If that isn't possible, I would remove it. I know putting an animal under is always a risk, but he has other issues that could be complicated if this turns out to be something serious. I think it's best to remove it now if you can't get another sample.

  6. Better take it to Vat ! no one can suggest you a better idea then this !

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  7. I can see why this is a tough decision